The UK Independence Party said yesterday that it had proved it was "no flash in the pan" after beating Labour to come second in the election to the European Parliament.
The anti-EU fringe party won 13 seats, its best showing ever. It won just under 16.6 per cent of the popular vote, up 0.4 points on what it polled at the last European election.
In 2004, Ukip was boosted by the arrival of the former daytime TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk. This time, it has recovered from scandals and internal feuds to demonstrate that it is still in business.
Ukip's leader, Nigel Farage, claimed his party could have done better if the issue of Europe, rather than MEPs' expenses, had dominated the campaign. Ukip has had its share of financial scandals, losing two of the 12 Ukip MEPs elected in 2004. Ashley Mote was convicted in 2007 of benefit fraud and Tom Wise has been charged with fraud and money laundering.